Lacombe resident excels in horsemanship

Jenna Salmon has competed in a variety of categories over the years

PREPARATION - Jenna Salmon

Horse riding and showing are sports that don’t seem to get as much recognition as they could – especially when one considers the long hours, dedication and skill that is put into a horse show.

Jenna Salmon, 17, has given up countless hours, taking time away from friends, family and any spare time to hone her skills with her horse, Gina.

“(Riding) teaches you a lot of responsibility. I’ve met a lot of my friends through this and they’re like my second family. It’s very time consuming and I’m away from home a lot, and miss a lot of school but it is definitely worth it.

“Keeping your nerves down and showing to your best is the hardest part. Also, being ready on time and not being stressed out.”

Salmon competes in a variety of categories. Those include showmanship, hunt seat, which is an English style with English saddle and attire, hunter under saddle which is a rail class so she is told what to do by judges, and another pattern class where she is taught a pattern and is to avoid cones for points.

She also competes in several western riding categories such as lead changes where she does patterns up and down an arena; trail, where she avoids obstacles; western pleasure, where she is directed by judges for what to show and western horsemanship which is a pattern.

Patterns mean a horse is to go from walking to jogging to loping all while executing precise turns and footing.

Recently Salmon took to the Westerner Grounds in Red Deer to compete in a youth all-around event and the Shannon Burwash Memorial non-pro-western pleasure futurity, placing third in the non-pro futurity category. Her horse, Gina, won highpoint senior horse.

“A lot of people think showing horses isn’t a sport, but the hours we put into it – it’s such late nights and early mornings. It’s intense. People think that you’re just sitting there but you’re not,” said Salmon.

“You have to use your legs, and know what you’re doing and you have to sit properly, look like you’re presenting well. That’s what a lot of people don’t know – they think you just sit there and it’s boring, but it’s not.”

Earlier this year, Salmon went to Texas for the Youth World Cup.

“It was really cool and very different. It was different than any other horse show I’ve done. You don’t ride your own horse, you’re on a team with people you don’t know and the coaches are different,” she said.

“But, it was really rewarding because I learned a lot, and a lot of life lessons actually. In showmanship, I got sixth and eighth. The hardest part was not knowing the horses and only having a few days to get to know them before you show them.”

Youth Worlds were difficult for Salmon also because she was completely unfamiliar with the coaches and other members of her team.

“You have to go in there and you’re competing for your team, so you don’t want to let them down, yet you’re trying to figure stuff out for yourself on your own. It was a bit of a challenge but by the end of it we were all good friends.”

A lot of work goes into a show.

Setting up stalls, filling them with loads of hay, bathing, braiding and training takes up a lot of time. Horses have to be lunged – exercised – before they can be ridden and practiced with. If a horse gets dirty, it means another bath and braid session. At night, the horse’s legs have to be wrapped and receive a sort of pain medication rub so that they don’t get sore. Riders are up as early as 5:30 a.m. for shows at 7 a.m. and throughout the day have to change saddles, costumes and stances.

“We show all day long and when we’re done, we clean our horses up again and do it all again. It’s a whole big process. At the end, we pack everything back up and take down what we put up.”

Salmon loves what she does, but admits that sometimes it is hard, especially when people don’t realize how much of her time she dedicates  to her sport.

Riding is one of the only times she can see her best friend and she often misses her family while on the road competing.

The life of an equestrian athlete, in all varieties of riding, is tough. Salmon is continuing to train and compete knowing that all of her hard work will eventually pay off in pride and accomplishment.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Lacombe schools in danger of losing funding over GSA compliance

Education Minister David Eggen said 28 out of 94 accredited funded private schools not in compliance

Urban hens close to being permanent in Lacombe

Council passes first reading of bylaw to extend pilot program permanently

No pumping into Gull Lake for 5 years due to carp concerns

Worries of carp in the Blindman River has put a hold on pumping water into Gull Lake

Town of Blackfalds proposes increase in taxes

1.5% increase falls below Alberta inflation rate

Jesse Todd hat trick leads Lacombe Generals over Innisfail

6-5 victory puts Lacombe in first place heading into Rosetown matchup

WATCH: Remembrance Day in Lacombe fills LMC

2018 marked 100 years since the end of First World War

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

City of Wetaskiwin didn’t apply utility hikes to bills

Clerical financial error discovered by Wetaskiwin city council

Most Read